Thursday, October 30, 2008

for me... it really is the thought that counts

maybe i get more pensive when i get tired and bleary-eyed...yet, i have been thinking a lot about this recently. i was thinking of some of my most memorable food moments. they actually are not super fancy dinners....although dinner at gary danko is nice. real nice. no doubt about it. yet, the other more quiet and less obvious moments are the ones that resonate the most with me.

moments like a delivery of homemade pasta to get me through a surgery, gifts of homemade hot chocolate mixes (since this is one of my favorite morning drinks), surprise treats to help me lift my mood during dark moments (like the above pic of the droga chocolate that the best friend gave to me a while ago), getting back from a meeting and there is a chocolate bar on my chair, or the super duper classic moment when MP pulled me out of a meeting so that she could give me some of the homemade indian food she cooked. the other folks in the meeting were very envious.

it really is the thought behind the moments....when that person takes a moment to say, "hey, i thought about you today" through their actions.

there are also the memorable moments that have nothing to do with someone making something for me or someone bringing me surprise treats.....for example, there was that day when i was completely stressing out right before a particular personal milestone event that i really didn't want to do and a loved one practically hog-ties-me-up, forces me to leave work early, and makes me go eat at la med in the filmore. nothing fancy. yet, it was something i needed but didn't even realize.

again...it is about the thought behind the moments....when a loved one looks at you...really sees you....and figures out how to care for you...when you forget to care for yourself.

there are also those food moments that are bittersweet. like the time...when someone [not a current or ex-lover btw] with limited cooking skills wanted to make me dinner. this can be quite a daunting task for some people. i fully realize this. so what does he do? he borrows a julia child cookbook from a co-worker...cooks an entire multi-course dinner two nights before he makes it for me. he wanted to practice cooking the dishes before he made them for me. was it very good? ahhh, well...hmmmm... lets skip that question shall we. nevertheless, it ranks right up there with one of my most memorable food moments because of the effort and thought involved.

what does this tell me? it tells me that despite the severely pissy mood that i've been recently....i really am quite fortunate.....and that despite some of the unpleasant thoughtless moments that have happened....there has also been some truly wonderful and thoughtful ones as well. hmmmm, i think that is enough ramblings from a tired and bleary-eyed foodie hunter.

nite for now.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

methinks someone associates me with puttanesca

well it looks like it will be an "early" night for me. it is just before midnight. talk about burning the midnight oil these days. someone mentioned during our meeting today that he hopes that i will return from hong kong with "all of my bits and bobs attached". methinks someone is very very very annoyed at me. well, that is just too bad. shouldn't have tried to bully me. it doesn't sit very well.

i am so incredibly tired at the moment. i don't think that i honestly have the energy to write. instead, i'll just show you a series of pics of the yummerific lunch i made today.

what did i make?

puttanesca sauce with quinoa pasta.

this is a little salute to the person across the world that has probably cursed me and my ancestors a thousand times over by now. good thing that the ancestors are dead and all...they might have been upset. or not.












nite all.

xxxooo

Monday, October 27, 2008

vote for you. for me. for us.


no worries, i'm not going to say "you should vote x for z candidate or ballot measure". i'm hoping that you'll just vote.

i'm hoping that you'll make a choice.... a choice for something that you can believe in.

we have....from the american perspective...this "right" to vote. lets think about this for a moment. we have this right to participate in a collaborative set of decisions that impacts "you", "me", and "us". we have this right to debate, openly discuss, openly disagree, and cast our vote...without worrying about being barred from the voting place, herded up, imprisoned, or shot.

or perhaps, look at it this way... if you don't like the outcome of x or y measure . . . do you really have the right to bitch about it later?

for those of you who follow my twitter page, you would have likely seen my "oh crap" moment when i realized that i would be in hong kong during election day. i've never been away from home during election day before...so it was a bit of a jolt to realize that i better figure something out. hence, my applying to vote by mail. thank goodness the materials arrived today as i had told DH over the weekend that if they didn't arrive that i would be taking some time off this week to figure something out....to hopefully vote early and in-person before i arrived in hong kong. i said this to DH despite the fact that this week is going to be absolutely crazy with preparations for the hong kong meetings next week. in fact, i knew it was going to be so crazy busy that i bought myself something that i could reward myself with every day.....

i bought a box of coco delice forais chocolates. i am going to eat one piece every day this week.

i am going to need it. these are soooooo gooood. the best friend introduced me to coco delice quite some time ago....and the forais (aka salty caramel and dark chocolate) was among my favorite tastes at the april sf chocolate salon event. i'm all about the rewards during chaotically busy times...and yummerific chocolate covered salty caramels definitely get my vote. how about you?

Sunday, October 26, 2008

pumpkin paratha from sukhi's

as i mentioned a couple of days ago, i stopped off at the old oakland farmers' market and bought quite a few things from the sukhi's stall. one of the samples i tried that day was their pumpkin paratha with their spiced creme cheese paratha dip and their jalapeño chutney. the folks at sukhi's definitely know what they are doing when they pass out samples.....admittedly, that is a combination that i would have never bought without trying it. yet, i did try it...and i liked it. of course!

so this morning i decided to recreate that combination for my sunday brunch. i started out by slicing up the large pumpkin paratha and heating up two slices...

then smearing a bit of their paratha cream cheese dip.....

and then spooned their jalapeño chutney on top... isn't that pretty? it almost looks like a dessert doesn't it?

there is a lot going on with this combo of flavors..... the sweet, savory, and a heady amount of warm spices. while i enjoy the combo of flavors....i know that it isn't for everyone. in fact, i'm aware that other members of the family prefer to have only small tastes of the paratha and would likely forgo the accompaniments. yet, i find this combo really hits the spot when i am looking for some bold flavors.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

BLTs with B at delancey street cafe

i spent the afternoon with B today in the city. originally, we were going to discuss setting up a blog and social media accounts for him....yet, we ended up eating yummy BLTs with avocado (does that make it a BLTA?) at the delancey street cafe, talking about hong kong, and going shopping instead.

i had never been to the cafe before and everyone was super nice. i have supported other delancey street foundation businesses such as their moving service (which i've always had great experiences with btw)...yet, had never been to any of the restaurants or food establishments. i know that B is a fan of the restaurant and cafe since they are so close to his place. i'm pretty certain that we both admire the services that delancey street foundation provides....yet, it is also nice that the food and service is good. also, the cafe has a lovely outdoor eating space that makes you feel like you are eating in a park [a clean park that is]. as the weather was absolutely beautiful in sf today...munching away on salty savory bacon sandwiches in the sunshine was a welcome respite from all of the work i've been doing recently. it was also great to catch up with B and hear all of his recommendations and thoughts about hong kong since he conducted so much business there. i have a feeling that my trip will be quite an adventure. well, 'til later dear hearts.

xxxooo

foodbuzz: using my blog content without permission [updated]

let me provide some background.

on september 22, 2008 i was contacted by foodbuzz. they sent me an email indicating that a "friend" had told them i was interested in their publisher program. my response was if they could tell me which "friend" this was it would be much appreciated as i had expressed no such interest. then foodbuzz responded by indicating they were mistaken and that one of their program participants had recommended that they contact me. i let them know that i wasn't interested in joining and would prefer to be independent without any affiliations at this time. i sent that email on september 24, 2008.

i think was pretty clear...polite...but clear. i'm not feeling so polite at the moment. yes, i know that there are quite a few prominent food bloggers that are affiliated with foodbuzz. i choose not to be affiliated. i like having a choice. i don't like that choice being taken away from me.

how was this choice taken away from me?

today, i find out that foodbuzz has created a "profile" of my blog. it appears that they have links to 36 of my postings. the first posting they link to was a posting created on september 24th. interesting that this was created on the day that i said i wasn't interested. hmmmm. then at the top of the profile of my blog it reads that i am not a registered member but that they have created this profile anyway.
there is also a big ad from one of their sponsors on this page. of course there is an ad. (i also took a screen shot of this for my records). as the "profile" of my blog has links to several of my postings..... when you click on one of the links.... it opens up my blog in a foodbuzz "frame". this allows them to affiliate their brand with my blog. essentially, from my perspective, they are using my content without my permission. they are also obtaining revenue from this....as evident from the ad... so in a sense, they are using my blog to make money.

even when i told them i my preference is to be independent and ad-free.

nice. really nice.

is this an attempt at wiggling around obtaining permission to use an author's content? sigh. all of this....despite my prominently displayed "all rights reserved" on the blog. interesting how i clearly and directly expressed that i did not want to be affiliated...yet they found a way to do so anyway. i find this quite disrespectful and perhaps, violates authors rights....in this case, my rights as an author. remember dear hearts, i did work as an editor in the content business for a number of years. using content without proper permissions in place is a sore issue in the content business.

now dear hearts, how would you feel if someone did this to you? i had used a similar argument about boorah...but the same applies to foodbuzz. how would they feel if another site used their content? how would they feel if another site put their own branding with their own site without permission? i doubt foodbuzz would be too happy as their brand is their business. i bet they are pretty sensitive about their brand. just as i am pretty sensitive about my blog.

i have sent them a note asking them to remove the profile of my blog.

we'll see what happens.

*****updated: they took the profile down and see it as perfectly legal. i still don't like opening up content in their frame concept and i know i'm not the only one. for more info see here.***

Friday, October 24, 2008

true random eats from the old oakland farmers market


at 3am this morning, i kept thinking..."why am i in this job again?" but then by 3pm this afternoon, i thought..."oh yeah, i know why". not only do i like the people i work with (with a few exceptions naturally) but i also get to do things like go to the old oakland farmers' market in the middle of the day! i almost missed it too as i it ends at 2pm and i entered the market at 1:30pm.

as i knew that i had limited time ... i headed directly for the corner of 9th and washington and did a dead stop. scream sorbet wasn't at the usual corner! i felt like weeping....i was looking forward to having some scoops of scream sorbet all day. yet, i decided to head further down 9th to visit crepe & brioche...remember i only had 30 min, i could mourn later. good thing i was hustling as scream was there...they had just moved their booth so that it was further down on 9th. thank the gods! i asked the scream sorbet lady when they moved locations and she mentioned that they moved last week.


i ordered a scoop of the watermelon and the peach....

yuuuuummmmmm. it was sooooooo goooood. as i was savoring the sorbet, i also did some power shopping. i bought some ca-grown chestnuts from the winters table


did a drive by the charlie frank's pie booth for a couple of sweet potato pies.....

then found myself waylaid by the sukhi's booth.....and bought samosas, parathas, and some chutney.....

and ended my journey at crepe & brioche


the crepe & brioche guy is always nice and think he was feeling particularly playful today

don't you think?

anyway, after i left crepe & brioche, i took a couple of moments to take a breath and look at my purchases....

i obviously was such a sucker for the prepared foods today. yet i'm a happy sucker. when i got home, i heated up one of the samosas and spooned some the of sukhi jalapeño chutney on top as well as some coriander chutney i already had (btw: yes, i know how to make mint chutney from scratch...i made a descent batch for JS when i was in atlanta but i'm so not in the mood to cook anything right now).

hmmmmm. the samosa was really good.


after i ate the samosa i was still kinda hungry. this makes sense as i didn't have breakfast.....and the scream sorbet was my first tastes of the day. "what to eat next?" i thought to myself...should i have sukhi's pumpkin paratha? i knew that was tasty as i tried it at the sukhi's booth.....yet, i could hear the crepe & brioche breads calling to me.....and knew they would be good alone or with some tart lemon curd....

it was just a matter of picking which one....."should i pick the brioche or the croissant?" i knew they were both equally good. i ended up eating the brioche with lemon curd. what a random selection and order of food today! but it was lovely. i love living the bay area....it is just too cool. i had and am having such a good time.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

i should be excited

well. i've booked my trip to the hong kong office.

i should be excited.

but i'm not.

my lack of excitement stems from feeling that the trip is already tainted by my interactions with certain members of the hong kong team. not exactly the best perspective going into the a business trip. i also have a sneaking suspicion that the trip isn't going to be worth the time (i.e., 30+ hours of travel time, the time away from current pressing projects, etc). i have a feeling that the ROI on this trip is going to be substantially small. some of you dear hearts, who have worked with me in the past are fully aware that i'm not big on inefficiencies. i don't like to waste time and i get a bit cranky when i think someone or someones are wasting my time.

this morning, after going through the various emails and such....i decided that i needed to eat something tart for breakfast. it is times like this where lemon curd comes in real handy. sometimes i'll spoon lemon curd on some yogurt but today, i wanted to have it on a toasted pain de mie bun.


so after toasting the split bun in the oven, i spooned some of the lemon curd on top of the halves...



key word here is "spooned"....i wasn't stingy with the curd. i think quite a few of you dear hearts will recognize the curd...it is the pretty inexpensive lemon curd from tj's. i like how their lemon curd is quite tart and it fit my mood perfectly today.

also, in keeping with the citrus theme....i had my lemon curd bun with earl grey tea.

while i was munching on my sweetly tart dessert-like dish for breakfast, i kept thinking that i'm going to have to figure out a way to make the best of this trip. i think i'm going to have to find that zen place and accept that these people are who they are and nothing i do is going to change who they are. i just hope that i find that place sooner than later. preferably before i arrive jet-lagged into the hong kong office.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

bird's eye view at corso trattoria

i should begin by saying that the above pea sprouts pic has nothing to do with my posting. it is just a random shot i took a while ago. the best friend and i grabbed some dinner at corso this evening to celebrate her newly regained mobility. unfortunately, i didn't bring my camera...which was quite the tragedy because we were seated at the counter that had a full view of the small kitchen.

there are some people in this world who would not appreciate this sort of bird's eye view into the interactions of a kitchen...i am absolutely not one of them and neither is VF. we definitely enjoyed watching the grill and saute guy do his thing while providing us with recommendations on certain dishes. he was quite a showman and i had no idea we were going to have live entertainment with our dinner. our server was also super nice, attentive, and made lovely wine recommendations.

yet, lets get down to business. i have a feeling that what you really want to know is what did VF and i end up having for the yummerific celebration?

we started with the tasty salumi which they served with fresh figs...(my fave taste was the cured pork shoulder), then moved on to the light gnocchi pillows with braised duck and gaeta olives, a side of green beans with pancetta (everything tastes good with pancetta), then the lovely sugo with fresh tagliatelle, and our not-to-sweet desserts were the nectarine fruit tart and the olive oil cake.

because VF and i had a bird's eye view...we were able to scope out some other dishes that looked absolutely yummy and they included the mushroom pizza and the butternut squash ravioli. hmmmm, i have a feeling that we will be visiting corso again and next time i'll bring my camera.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

bold flavors needed

i am not certain what it is about my interactions with the hong kong office that makes me want to grind my teeth and throw things across the room. i don't know...maybe it is certain execs asking for the same thing 10 different ways thinking that they will get their way. then i love the whole trying to go over your head and when they get nowhere, they still try.

it is like they don't understand...."this is not a negotiation". you can ask me a thousand different ways or try [note...the key word here is "try"] to manipulate me into a situation where you get your way...but the answer is still the same. i feel so american at the moment. i feel like i should just record myself saying "no" and just play it over and over again. i also feel rather insulted that they think i can't identify attempts at manipulation.

someone is going to lose significant face if they try to put me into a corner. i am not one that is afraid of a little conflict. i don't seek it out...but i'm not one to be bulldozed either. i get a sense that one hong kong exec in particular is used to the brits just rolling over. hmmmm, let me check....yup, i'm still american. i think the hong kong exec is going to have an absolute conniption when they see me. i should take a picture.

this particular exec is very fortunate that i have ethics...you know, i'm not going to do crappy work on the hong kong market just because the exec is driving me nutz. not everyone else would feel this way. so it was with this mindset that i tried to figure out what to eat today. i didn't have a lot of time so i needed it to be quick. i decided upon a spicy deviled egg sandwich. while my slice of acme upstairs bread was toasting in the oven, i quickly put the ingredients together......

two eggs, some organic mayo, yellow mustard, kosher salt and home made spice mix (i.e., cayenne, habanero, and black pepper). yet once i mixed everything together....

i thought about it some more and realized that i wanted a little extra color and flavor....so i added the chopped parsley....

then i decided that the flavors weren't nearly as bold as i was in the mood for....i was pretty worked up and wanted something to match what was going on....but "what to add?" after a moment of just scanning my pantry, my eyes lit on the dried tomatoes...perfect....talk about bold flavors....so i chopped a few strands and added it to the mix.

the toast was about ready at this point so i spooned my spicy deviled egg and tomato salad mix on top of the toasted acme upstairs bread.

it fit the mood perfectly. the crunch, the spice, the colors, the bold flavors.....yum yum. it soothed the beast. hmmmmm. now i just have to figure out what to eat when this happens again tomorrow.

Monday, October 20, 2008

homage to chicken liver mousse

there are very few people in this world where i would be willing to show up for dinner....having no idea what they plan to cook... and eat whatever they decide to make. CK is definitely one of those people. when the best friend sent a note asking if i would be interested in coming over to try out some of the dishes that CK was testing out upcoming wine maker dinner, i was all over it. i had no idea what CK was planning to make and i knew that it wouldn't matter. i just needed to figure out what wine to bring (which ended up being a 2005 rombauer napa valley zin). one does not bring a crappy wine to this kind of dinner.

CK is one of those home cooks that could be a chef if CK was so inclined. i mean a real chef, not the dozens of CCA graduates that are wannabes because they watched too much of the the food network. from my perspective culinary school does not automatically equal chef. ooooohhh, i think i hear knives sharpening ready to stab me. (anonymity is a good thing.) yet, you can put a knife in someone's hand, show them how to use it, but i don't think you can teach someone to have the soul of a chef. a chef equals someone who truly loves food ....approaches food creatively and intellectually....as well as consistently turns out dishes that impact the entire dining experience....from taste, texture, pairings to presentation. even some so-called professional chefs don't have this down. yet, CK does all of these things and everyone at the dinner last night were guinea pigs for a couple of dishes CK was trying out for an upcoming wine maker dinner at the mixing bowl. i don't want to spoil it for those who are planning to attend...yet, everything was yummy and lovely. i was particularly fond of the chicken liver mousse which may or may not be included in the next dinner. i happily took home leftovers which became the center piece of my decadent lunch today. as you can see below, i toasted some acme upstairs bread...then slathered on the mousse....and sprinkled a bit of fleur de sel on top...

admittedly, i may have gone a bit overboard with the accompaniments that included medjool dates, dried black mission figs, organic cherry tomatoes, cornichons, iberico cheese, and almonds....yet, it seemed an appropriate homage to the lovely mousse.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

stickin with guerilla

jb and i met up yesterday to talk pies, plays, and do some much needed catching up. we sat in front of the computers in my office for a while as jb picked out about 15 potential pie pics for the play's promotional materials. for those of you who aren't familiar with my pie quest, please feel free to visit here.

once that was out of the way, we decided to grab a bite at guerilla cafe.


i'm a fan of guerilla...not just because they seem to have a larger than average proportion of beautiful people that work there....but they also serve blue bottle coffee, good quality hot chocolate [dagoba], and good eats. one of my favorite things to order is the spicy dagoba hot chocolate

this shot was actually taken a few weeks ago. unfortunately they brought me a mocha by mistake yesterday but i didn't feel like going through the hassle asking for another one. there were a couple of unusual mis-steps yesterday. after they took our original order, they came back to us to say that they were out of what both of us wanted. so instead of having their polenta porridge, i had their waffle of the day....which was a cardamom waffle

their waffles are usually pretty yummy, here is a shot of their whole wheat orange waffle i had a few weeks ago..

again, i've been to guerilla at least a dozen times or so and this is the first time i've encountered any mis-steps. i almost didn't write about the experience. yet, i realized that i've taken quite a few people to guerilla over the past year... so most of you dear hearts, know that i enjoy the cafe and how the people are very nice. i suppose it is like any relationship. there may be a couple of hiccups but why abandon a good thing? you'll still find me at guerilla in the future.